Holding down a job while studying for a qualification can seem like an unenviable task. Not only do you have to balance your lifestyle to accommodate additional workloads, but there is also the chance of mental exhaustion!
Still, it is possible, and despite the demands on your time, there are the advantages to consider, such as helping your career plans and giving you a step up on the career ladder.
Here are some tips to help you, if you are considering, or are currently studying while holding down a job.
#1 Consider distance learning – For many courses, you don’t need to set foot in an educational establishment. By taking a correspondence course (done through snail mail) or an online MBA programme, as examples, you have the flexibility to study at your own pace, with a longer time frame to complete the course.
#2 Speak to your employer – In some cases, your employer may allow you time off to study. Provided the course directly impacts your performance at work, your employer may also consider funding or part-funding the course fees.
#3 Schedule your study time – Whether you take an online or a college course, you still need to map out your time effectively. Knowing what your workload is on a weekly or monthly basis will help you allocate your time. Markdown deadlines, and future exam dates too, so you know what you are dealing with. Use a wall planner or a time-management app on your smartphone to help you, giving you a visual representation of the commitments you will be facing.
#4 Take a break – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and it will also tire him out! Within your schedule, set yourself time for leisure activities, social time, and relaxation. Cramming your mind with study after a day working is not going to help you, and you won’t be able to give your course tutor or employer your best if you burn yourself out.
#5 Find a good time to study – As part of your time-management, look at the optimum time to study. For some people, this will be the first thing in the morning, perhaps before they go to work. For others, it may be the last thing at night before bedtime. It may be that sometime over the weekend is better, especially if you don’t have work commitments on those days. Know when your mind is at its best (and least tired), and use those times to study.
#6 Speak to your tutor – If you do find yourself struggling, don’t be afraid to speak to your tutor. Your tutor wants to see you succeed, so they may offer you a course of action that will ease your stress, such as extending the deadline for your essays.
#7 Find a support group – You won’t be the only mature student on the course, so there will be others facing the same pressures you are. Whether you are studying online or off, make contact with other people on your course, and benefit from the mutual support you can give each other.
Be honest with yourself, your employer, and your tutor, and you should be able to study while working at the same time.
It won’t be easy, you will get stressed occasionally, but remember to focus on the endgame; the qualification and skills you receive, and you should have all the incentive you need to keep going.
Are you having a tough time balancing your work and study and what are you doing to overcome this? Share your thoughts and comments below.